Welcome to TBA Today
For many of you, this is your first issue of TBA Today, the new electronic publication of the Tennessee Bar Association. TBA Today provides daily court opinions, news for and about the Tennessee legal community, updates from the Tennessee General Assembly and more.
We hope you find TBA Today useful. If you would like to change to receiving it in a text format or -- surely not -- end your subscription, click on the link below.
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.
00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below.
All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password,
you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi
Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then
open them from there. Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to
download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file
to your computer. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view
and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink.
This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.
Howard H. Vogel
| LIFEPOINT HOSPITAL, INC. v. ANN MORGAN
Michelle M. Benjamin, Winchester, Tennessee, for appellant, Ann Morgan.
Terry L. Hill, Manier & Herod, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Lifepoint Hospital, Inc.
This workers’ compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation
Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-225(e)(3) for
hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial
court determined that the employee was entitled to retain temporary total disability benefits paid
by the employer, but was not entitled to any additional benefits. On appeal, the employee
submits that the trial court erred in (1) holding that her injury did not entitle her to further
benefits or reimbursement of past medical expenses, (2) adopting inappropriate contingent
findings of fact, and (3) making a factual finding that she resigned from her employment. The
employer raises the additional argument that the trial court erred by denying its motion for
reimbursement of temporary total disability benefits. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm
the judgment of the trial court.
M&M AUTO SALES v. OLD REPUBLIC SURETY COMPANY
v. BROOKS ROAD AUTO MART, LLC (D/B/A MEMPHIS AUTO WORLD) and SHANE CHAPMAN (INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A MEMPHIS AUTO WORLD)
Roger A. Stone, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, M&M Auto Sales.
Edward Witt Chandler, Mountain Home, Arkansas, for the appellant, Shane Chapman.
John D. Willet, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Old Republic Surety Company.
This is an action to recover on a surety bond. The plaintiff automobile wholesaler sold vehicles to
the third-party defendant automobile retailer. The retailer gave the wholesaler the certificates of title
for the vehicles as security, pending the retailer’s payment in full for the vehicles. Subsequently, the
retailer sold the vehicles to third parties, but did not pay the wholesaler. The wholesaler, therefore,
retained the certificates of title. Consequently, the retailer was unable to transfer the certificates of
title to the third-party purchasers when they bought the vehicles. Later, in a separate lawsuit, the
wholesaler obtained a judgment against the retailer for breach of contract. The wholesaler then filed
the instant lawsuit against the defendant surety company on the retailer’s automobile dealership
surety bond, claiming that it was damaged by the retailer’s failure to transfer the certificates of title
to the purchasers of the vehicles. The surety company filed a third-party complaint against the
retailer, asserting that the retailer was required to indemnify the surety company for its attorney’s
fees expended in defending the underlying lawsuit. The surety company filed a motion for summary
judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the surety company against both
the wholesaler and the retailer. The wholesaler and the retailer now appeal. We affirm.
SHELBY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC. v. PAUL FORBES AND JOSEPH STRAIN
Sharon L. Petty, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Paul Forbes and Joseph D. Strain.
Henry C. Shelton, III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shelby Electric Company, Inc.
This is an action to enforce a commercial guaranty. The defendants were both 25% shareholders in
the plaintiff corporation. They each signed a guaranty on a $70,000 line of credit issued to the
corporation. Subsequently, two other shareholders of the corporation drew down $50,000 from the
line of credit without notifying the defendant guarantors or the corporation’s board of directors. Two
days later, the guarantors resigned from the corporation. Within weeks, the two other shareholders
who drew the money from the line of credit caused the corporation to default on its obligation.
These two shareholders then purchased the corporation’s debt from the bank in the name of the
plaintiff corporation and demanded payment from the guarantors under their guaranties. The
guarantors refused to make the requested payments. The plaintiff corporation then sued the
guarantors pursuant to the guaranties. The guarantors filed an answer asserting the affirmative
defenses of fraud and fraud in the inducement of the guaranties. The plaintiff corporation filed a
motion for summary judgment, citing the broad “waiver of defenses” provision in the guaranties.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff corporation, concluding that the defenses
asserted by the guarantors were waived under the general waiver-of-defenses provision. From that
order, the guarantors now appeal. We reverse, concluding that the defenses of fraud and fraud in the
inducement were not waived in the general waiver-of-defenses provisions in the guaranties at issue.
LEONARD V. CATALANO v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leonard V. Catalano.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney
General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District
Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
The petitioner, Leonard V. Catalano, pled guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual battery. As
a result, he was sentenced to thirty-two years incarceration. His sentence was affirmed by this
Court on direct appeal. See State v. Leonard V. Catalano, No. M2001-03039-CCA-R3-CD, 2003
WL 21877933 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Nashville, July 9, 2003), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Nov. 24,
2003). The petitioner subsequently sought post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty plea
was not knowing and voluntary due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Following a hearing,
the post-conviction court denied the petition. The petitioner appealed. For the following
reasons, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
SAMUEL K. ROBINSON v. GLEN TURNER, WARDEN
Samuel K. Robinson, pro se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General,
for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.
The Petitioner, Samuel K. Robinson, appeals the lower court’s denial of his petition for
habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court
pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner has failed to allege any
ground that would render the judgment of conviction void. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s
CLIFFORD L. TAYLOR v. DAVID MILLS, WARDEN
Clifford L. Taylor, pro se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General, for
the appellee, the State of Tennessee.
The Petitioner, Clifford L. Taylor, appeals the lower court’s denial of his petition for habeas
corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court pursuant
to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner has failed to allege any ground
that would render the judgment of conviction void. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s
| Legal News
|Knox County exempt from uniform state court fees
|When a new law setting uniform court fees takes effect statewide, Knox County will not be participating. County officials and state lawmakers from the area argued that the law would have a devastating economic impact and succeeded in exempting the county. As a result, the county will have the highest court costs in the state for most cases, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.
|Chattanooga clerks unsure of new fee structure
|In related news, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Hamilton County clerks are expressing uncertainty and confusion about the overall effects of the new fee structure.
|Germantown judges announce re-election bids
|Germantown's two municipal court judges, Robert Brannon and Ray Clift, announced they plan to seek re-election in August, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
|Davidson County considers courthouse naming
|A Davidson County councilman has proposed naming the paved terrace of the new county courthouse for former Nashville Mayor Richard Fulton, according to the Nashville City Paper. The courthouse itself will be named for Adolpho A. Birch, Jr.
|Chief Justice John Roberts calls for increased judicial pay
|In his first year-end assessment of the federal judiciary, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts urged Congress to increase judicial pay to help keep good judges on the bench and to recruit new ones, according to the Associated Press. Justice Roberts
|Fed Ex legal team featured in GC South
|The December 2005 issue of GC South, a regional publication for and about general counsels, featured a profile of the legal team at Memphis-based FEDEX Corp. The article highlighted the company's unique approach of using staff attorneys rather than outside counsel for litigation and the challenges of hiring foreign national attorneys for its overseas legal departments.